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Flowery Branch flavor benefits band students
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Chuck Johnson, lead singer of Diversity, talks about why he believes learning to play an instrument should be a part of every child’s education.
Songs will fill the air and good eats will fill the tummies of band supporters at the first ever Taste of Flowery Branch fundraiser.

More than a dozen local restaurants will set up booths along Main Street in Flowery Branch on Saturday to benefit Flowery Branch High School's Falcon Marching Band. The Retrospective Jazztet will take the stage at 11 a.m. and Diversity will perform at 1:15 p.m. while tasters sample cuisine from Mimi's Cafe, Houndstooth Grille, Grappa and Grapes & Hops, among others.

David Wiebers, Flowery Branch High School band director, said the all-you-can-eat buffet costs just $10 and directly benefits 120 band students.

"We're hoping to make it an annual thing," Wiebers said. "We've already set up a date for next year in May."

Wiebers said all proceeds will support the high school band's trip to Washington, D.C., for the presidential inauguration in January. In addition, Wiebers said he is currently waiting to hear back from inaugural parade organizers as to whether the Falcon marching band will perform in the parade.

Money raised from the Taste of Flowery Branch could also provide the band with new concert uniforms.

Weibers said he is excited one of his former band students, Neil Newcumb, will be playing the saxophone with The Retrospective Jazztet Saturday. He said Newcumb is now a student at Kennesaw State University studying saxophone performance.

Chuck Johnson, lead singer of Diversity, said music has always been his release, and he hopes to bring more kids to the wonderful world of music. Johnson said that not only is he grateful for a chance to perform blues, rock and country songs with his band, but he's also glad to help foster young musicians' careers.

"If you can get a kid into music, you'll keep him off the wrong end of town," Johnson said. "Music is a peaceful expression of yourself. To me, it's just the most honest expression you can do."

He said music teaches children discipline, patience and instills a work ethic.

"You get out what you put in," he said. "If you practice, you get good music out of it.

"If you can just play and sing, your world is brighter, it's just so much better." Johnson said. "This next generation is going to have to save the world, and we're hoping we can do it with music."